Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia born 1965
2001 oil on canvas oil on canvas
183.0 h x 156.0 w cm
Accession No: NGA 2001.138
Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery
One of the more powerful arguments in favour of abstract painting is that it presents us with opportunities to experience the act of looking in its purest form: our unexplained feelings of elation on seeing particular combinations of colour in the flow of daily life given a permanent form independent of the visual descriptions of objects. The rectangle and the planar line whilst in themselves the most neutral bearers of colour-cargo, through multiplication and in combination with each other, can generate a wide range of resonances. These are the elements of Harper’s work. Judith Pascal1
My paintings are developed out of my own experiences of looking. They are concerned with colour and abstract form. They are a visual experience: colour, the tone of colour, its application, the form, is an act of involving a precision of thought and becomes a complex visual experience. The experience is as rich and complex in its own way as observing and being in the landscape. Abstract paintings are direct observations of life, they relate to the lived experience. The act of looking, the obvious, the precise and the precious.
purple / with light blue smith street, collingwood
grey / yellow northumberland street,
light grey / orange collingwood
misty dark blue / laughing waters, eltham
prussian blue / ultramarine blue eltham
Intersecting shapes/ stripes of color, bands of color/ shapes colliding into each other and through each other/ agoraphobia/ discomfort/ and a sense of balance.
Melinda Harper 2002.
1Judith Pascal, in Melinda Harper, Brisbane: David Pestorius Gallery, 1994 [p.4] (exhibition catalogue)
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002